Luke Escombe
Keynote Speaker

Luke Escombe is an award-winning songwriter, musician and comedian who has turned his 25 years of living with Crohn’s disease into inspiration for his art. 

Luke’s breakthrough as a writer/performer came in 2011 with his one-man show “Chronic”, which combined multiple music styles with candid stand-up comedy about his many hospital stays. It was Luke’s ticket to festivals all over Australia, and led to him becoming an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.

The follow-up to “Chronic” was a show called “The Vegetable Plot”, which premiered at the 2014 Sydney Fringe. After years of speaking about illness, The Vegetable Plot was Luke’s way of making a fresh start – a roots music show for kids, families, and foodies with an emphasis on having fun and being healthy. It won the award for the Best Kid’s show at the festival and has since played at major events all around the country, including at the Sydney Opera House and Splendour in the Grass. 

Luke has spoken for three years in a row at Parliament House in Canberra, as well as at the New Zealand National Museum in Wellington, the 2012 and 2014 National Medicines Symposiums, the 2013 Pharmacy Australia Congress, and at conferences, workshops, support groups, Medicare Locals and training seminars across the country. 2017 saw him crossing the Pacific for the first time, speaking at events in Chicago and Miami and receiving standing ovations at both. His work was recognised at the end of the year by WEGO Health, who named him as the winner of their 2017 “Hilarious Patient Leader” award.

He was once described by John Shand in the Sydney Morning Herald as a “rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter…and very good at them all”, and is most often described by himself as the Mick Jagger of inflammatory bowel disease.  

Luke Escombe lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with his wife and son.

Wendy White
Keynote Speaker

In 2007, Wendy White founded Wendy White Wound Care, an independent wound consultancy service, with now over 27 years of wound & skin care expertise. Over the past decade, Wendy has delivered quality education, clinical and professional support services in local, national and international arenas including healthcare, residential, government, industry, insurance and legal.  Her mission & vision is to positively influence the person’s lived experience, to optimise practice & clinical outcomes and refocus the emphasis of care provision of both clinicians & organisations – changing lives for those at risk of or living with wounds.

Wendy is a past and current invited expert working with international advisory groups including wound related pain minimisation (2005 – 2008), improving wellbeing when living with a wound (2010 – 2012) & promoting advocacy in wound management (2014 – current).  Her areas of wound related clinical interest, research or publication include skin tear prevention and management, minimising wound related pain (including low resource setting), differentiation of neuropathic pain, wellbeing when living with a wound, clinicians as advocates, advanced skills acquisition programs including wound debridement and policy development. She is a past contributing author, invited reviewer and guest editor (2017) for the Wound Australia publication ‘Wound Practice & Research’.   Wendy is a recipient of a Wounds Australia Fellowship (previously known as the Australian Wound Management Association), in recognition of her contribution to clinical practice, education, research and leadership in wound management throughout Australia, and the Asia Pacific region.

Susan Gallagher PhD RN
Keynote Speaker

Susan Gallagher is a wound ostomy continence nurse, certified bariatric nurse, health care risk manager and certified safe patient handling professional. Dr. Gallagher holds a masters degree in nursing, a masters degree in religion and social ethics, and a PhD is policy ethics. Susan has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, and contributed chapters on quality and safety in both the Handbook of Hospital Safety, and the 2012 book titled: Epidemic of Medical Errors and Hospital-Acquired Infections. Susan is author of the books titled, The Challenges of Caring for the Obese Patient, the American Nurses’ Association Implementation Guide to the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Interprofessional National Standards and the all-new book titled: Bariatric Safe Patient Handling. She is a recognized expert in safety, outcomes and communication with an emphasis on bariatrics, skin and wound care, safe patient handling and mobility, and risk and loss control.

Dr Vicki Patton
Invited Speaker

Vicki has a background in stoma wound and continence nursing and has a particular interest in pelvic floor dysfunction. She completed her masters in research on management of antegrade colonic enemas via caecostomy in 2009 and then worked as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in a pelvic floor unit in Sydney for many years where she developed her skills in anorectal physiology and biofeedback. Vicki has worked within a multi-disciplinary team which focussed on disorders of defaecation including constipation, faecal incontinence, obstructed emptying and low anterior resection syndrome.

Vicki was awarded her PhD in early 2018 which examined the cost, treatment efficacy and the role of colonic dysmotility in faecal incontinence and constipation. She is currently undertaking a three year clinical research fellowship jointly funded by Edith Cowan University and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, WA.

A/Professor Cherry Koh
Invited Speaker

A/ Prof. Cherry Koh is a Colorectal Surgeon who works at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Dr Koh underwent post-fellowship training at RPA in Sydney and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in the United Kingdom. Cherry has broad clinical and academic interests. Clinically, she is a peritoneal malignancy surgeon and has interests in pelvic exenteration, minimally invasive colorectal surgery, intestinal failure and pelvic floor conditions. Academically, her research focus has been on surgical outcomes, quality of and cost-effectiveness.

Tracy Nowicki
Invited Speaker

Tracy is currently employed within a major metropolitan hospital in Brisbane as Clinical Nurse Consultant to manage the central equipment service.  A significant focus of her role within this department has been to bring innovation in the development of a central equipment service to ensure optimal patient outcomes through safe, equitable equipment management, education and maintenance. This service also specialises in pressure injury prevention, management of the Bariatric patient, Falls prevention, bed safety, Smart Pump Technology, skin integrity and risk management. Tracy is lead role in Queensland Bariatric Interest Group (QBIG). She has been on the development team for the Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Guidelines and is on the Review committee for the International Pressure Injury Guidelines. Tracy is a member of the Australian Pressure Injury Alliance Panel (APIAP) and the National Standards review committee.

Tracy has extensive experience in presenting innovative approaches to quality risk management topics both nationally and internationally.

A focus of her teaching is to ensure people have fun in learning.